I really wish they would give individual issue titles. “Part One,” “Part Two” by itself is just so bland. Not representative of this issue at all. I'm not going to belabor the shortcomings I identified in my review of the first issue – which are still present here – mainly because there's so much else to like here. It is beautiful, and carries the story further a bit. I guess that's all we can ask for, and when we get that much from two of the best creators out there (when they're on top of their game as they are here), the result is fantastic. Maybe it's a bit shallow and predictable, too, but what the hey.
Anyway – (talk about backhanded praise!) – Barry Allen takes a desperate call from Green Lantern Hal Jordan. Before that we find out that Flash is now the target of a full-on investigation by the Central City PD, taking priority even over murders, to Barry Allen's consternation. The slugfest between Batman and Green Lantern versus Superman has continued, and the former two are looking a bit worse for wear. That's when GL puts through the call to his buddy Barry, with whom he's worked before (“You know what happened the last time the public saw Green Lantern and The Flash together?” Barry asks. “We beat up a talking gorilla and saved Central City,” Hal replies. “And we destroyed the Museum of Natural History doing it!” Barry shouts – hence the “Flash Task Force.” Hal interrupts his rant: “Flash! … This guy … is going to … KILL US!” And in a … flash … Flash is there, dancing around Superman … until Supes gets the lead on him and fliks him with his index finger – the length of the street. “He actually hit me,” Flash rubs his head in stunned disbelief, then as an afterthought, “OW.” Luckily, that gives Batman a chance to interpose himself and manage to talk Superman down, realizing that it's been a misunderstanding. Just in time for the military to arrive, so the three take to the sewers.
Meanwhile, Victor Stone confronts his dad about not showing up to his big game, and his father basically tells him that in the new world of super-humans, his talents don't mean dick. Way to go, dad.
The three … is it too soon to call them “heroes?” – the world certainly doesn't recognize them as such, five years ago … regroup in: “An abandoned printing press?” Batman says incredulously, to which Supes replies, “I don't have a base of operations.” Apparently his lack of a mask is doing it's job to an extent, because Batman continues, “So where do you hide? You don't wear a mak so apparently you have no identity to protect.” Meanwhile we also find that even the Ring, drawing on the Guardians' vast database, hasn't a clue what the box is (as it pings away). From Flash's demeanor, Batman does pick up that he “sound[s] like a cop.” “I am. I work in the Crime Lab,” Flash confirms – whereupon GL cautions, “Barry, you're exposing your identity!” – “And you just called me 'Barry,' genius.” Then begins a series of interspersed panels as the two Boxes – the one the “heroes” have, and the one Dr. Stone is studying – both start pinging furiously and giving off energy discharges – BOOOOOOOM – alien creatures pour out into both locations, shouting, “FOR DARKSEID!” – as Victor Stone gets caught in the energy whiplash from the Boxes. Next: Wonder Woman!
To whet our appetite for that, I guess, the back-matter in this issue consists of pages from a “confidential” USAF report, a “Transcript of Interview with Captain Steve Trevor,” who is being interrogated by Agent [Amanda] Waller. We get strong hints of a warrior Wonder Woman. “Don't provoke her,” Trevor cautions. There are also some sketchbook pages, developmental drawings of the DCnU Batman and Superman, both of whom are given with a “first appearance” of Justice League #1 (2011). I guess Batman and Flash's appearance in Flashpoint #5 doesn't count...?
Cheers, and thanks for reading!